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Survivors’ chances slim as death toll rises to 22 in building collapse

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Image Credits: REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja.

The chances of survivors being rescued grew slimmer as rescue work has now gone beyond the third day of the collapse of a high-rise building under construction with scores of people trapped in debris in the rich suburb of Ikoyi, Lagos.

The collapsed building was one of three blocks that had been planned to be high-end apartments.

Officials have now put the death toll at 22 while nine people have been found alive and are being treated at a hospital.

Relatives wait outside as rescue workers continue to conduct search and rescue effort at the site of a collapsed building in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria, November 2, 2021. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

Reuters reports a man, choking with tears, who said a relative of his travelled from United States for a wedding in Abuja and had then been invited to Lagos by the developer to look at the building project. He has not been heard from since Monday.

Phone numbers for the project owner, main contractor, project manager, structural engineers and architects listed near the collapsed building, were switched off when called on Wednesday, suggesting some of them may have gone underground.

Lagos State commissioner for information, Gbenga Omotoso said a six-member independent panel of engineers, architects and town planers had been appointed to “ascertain what went wrong and recommend measures to forestall further occurrence.”

The panel has a month to present its findings.

Building collapses are frequent in Africa’s most populous country, where regulations are poorly enforced and construction materials often substandard.

Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said there was no manifest of who and how many were working when the building collapsed.

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“Unfortunately, it has also been difficult for us to identify anyone, or anyone to come forward as the project manager, or a staff of the developer or contractor,” he said during a visit to the site.

Authorities have said there had been some building infractions during construction earlier this year but did not say whether these had been rectified.

(with Reuters report)

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